Syria lashes out at US, UK, France over statement

Syria has strongly dismissed a joint statement by the United States, France, and Britain that declares they will not be participating in the war-torn Arab country’s reconstruction as long as it is led by President Bashar al-Assad.

An anonymous source at the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates told Syria’s official news agency SANA on Sunday that the joint statement was “a historical document of lie, hypocrisy, deception, and falsification.”

On Friday, the three countries plus Germany stressed that they would only provide support or assistance for the reconstruction of Syria on the condition that a “credible, comprehensive and genuine political process” begins irreversibly in the Arab country.

This is while the Syrian government has recaptured the diplomatic attention of many of its former foes following Damascus’ success in taking back almost all of the areas in the country that had been overrun by foreign-sponsored militants over the course of an eight-year war.

The statement by the three countries also came in spite of the fact that Assad has already ruled out the prospect of allowing hostile Western regimes to help reconstruct Syria.

The source at the Syrian Foreign Ministry said the governments in Washington, Paris, and London were “fully responsible” for the bloodshed in Syria.

The source called the joint statement “blatant interference” in Syria’s internal affairs and said those countries that had “killed and destroyed” were not invited to contribute to the reconstruction of Syria in the first place.

Such countries, the source said, should pay compensations for the killing and destruction due to their “heinous crimes.”

The joint statement also accused Damascus of pretending that the eight-year militancy was over and that conditions in Syria were “appropriate for reconstruction.” It called on Damascus to participate seriously in the United Nations (UN)-brokered peace talks, describing them as the only negotiations capable of achieving peace in the Arab country.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry source said the crimes and atrocities committed by terrorist groups in the Arab country and those committed by the US-led coalition, particularly in Raqqah and Dayr al-Zawr, which “amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity,” would forever remain “a stain on the forehead of these false democracies.”

The US-led military coalition – with France and Britain being key members – has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.

The military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians.

Meanwhile, Russia, Iran, and Turkey have been mediating peace negotiations between representatives from the Damascus government and opposition groups in a series of rounds held in the Kazakh capital Astana and other places since January 2017.

The talks, which are collectively referred to as the Astana peace process, have so far helped significantly reduce the violence gripping the Arab country by establishing four de-escalation zones there. They have also paved the way for the formation of a Constitutional Committee.

This is while the parallel UN-backed peace process in Geneva – which the three countries referred to in their statement – has failed to deliver much.

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